Milan carnival starts in Porta Venezia

Carnival in Milan later than other Italian cities.

While in most of Italy carnival finishes on Tuesday 5 March, churches in the archdiocese of Milan observe the Ambrosian rite, with carnival being held several days later than elsewhere. Although tradition tells us the difference is due to St Ambrose asking his parishioners to wait for his return from a pilgrimage, a more formal reason is the difference in counting the number of days of Lent, according to whether Sundays are considered a day of fasting or not.

However Porta Venezia Social District has decided for the third year running to jump the gun and hold local celebrations on Tuesday 5 March. The programme of events is centred on food – always the focus of carnival – and kids’ activities, with art and music thrown in for good measure.

The official, diocese-wide carnival will last until Saturday 9 March, when the traditional parade through the city streets marks the high point of the festivities.

This year’s carnival theme is still under wraps . Curiosity is building up around the floats being prepared by the diocesan oratories.